At Jeanlu Holsteins a growing dairy business is run with the passion and commitment we have learned to expect from Holstein dairy breeders. However the cows aren’t the only ones who receive special care and attention. Upon arriving in St-Georges in Quebec, all visitors to Ferme J.P. Poulin & Fils will be welcomed by the warm hospitality of this passionate dairy farm family that had its beginnings in 1956 with Lucille Labbé and Jean Paul Poulin.
This Farm Family Keeps Up the Good Work
Ferme J.P. Poulin has been owned by Simon Poulin since 1982. At that time he had his brother Daniel took over the farm operation from their parents. In 1999, Simon’s wife bought Daniel’s share. In January 2013 their daughter Sarah (23) joined her parents and became the third partner in the current farm. There are two other siblings, Karine (25) who works for Agropur in Granby and Maxime (19) who works on the farm. Karine’s boyfriend Samuel Jacques is one of two full-time employees. With family and a few students every year, they have created a great team to take care of over 300 head of cattle on 650 acres of land (500 owned and 150 rented).
Their Passion Shows Results in the Show Ring and in the Barn
Sarah admires her father’s passion for showing cows. “He started to show his own cows in 1988 and has never stopped since then.” Every year Jeanlu has a full string at their county show and they take a few cows or heifers to the Quebec Spring Show, Quebec Fall Show and sometimes to World Dairy Expo and the Royal. These show strings are the natural result of the Jeanlu breeding philosophy which as Simon says, “The goal is to breed great show cows.” He loves that his cows have awesome udders and everyone who visits the herd can see that!! The Jeanlu herd is comprised of 100 milking cows. They aren’t just pretty to look at they have production too. The herd classification is 16EX, 68 VG and 25 GP. The milking average is close to 10,800 kg with 4.1% Fat and 3.2% Protein.
For Sarah It Starts with Love
There can be no holding back, according to Sarah, when you are buying a heifer or cow. “You have to love her when you first see her and love her pedigree.” She goes on from her personal experience. “Every animal that I bought I fell in love with them!” She encourages others to do the same. “Don’t be shy. Talk with other people that you trust. You have to have a budget. Sometimes it’s a lot of money but, most of the time it’s worth it because, if you buy a good one, you will make money!”
Simon Says Hello to Genomics
In the past few years Simon has started to introduce genomics into his breeding. Sarah reports that in 2009 they started to buy high genomic heifers – some from sales and some privately. She updates the success they have had. “We are currently working with three amazing cows!” The three she is referring to are MS Chassity Freddie Cala now VG 2yrs, Farnear Brocades Bea (Observer) now VG86 2 yrs and Speek-NJ Observ Fandango now VG86 2 yrs. When Sarah and Simon buy heifers or cows they have definite parameters that have to be met. “They have to be from a great and strong cow family (like Barbie, Adeen, Debutante-Rae, Pledge) and they have to be nice heifers too – with great feet and legs, good rumps and they must look good underneath.”
Genomics on the Sire Side
Simon believes in genomics as long as the sires are from a great cow’s family, and that he likes the cross and likes the proof of the sire. Sarah describes the process “There are so many new bulls we have to choose the great ones. Sometimes we need to talk with people that know both bulls and genomics in order to make a good choice.” Simon likes to talk with Yvon Chabot and Thierry Laberge to find the best breeding cross on his best genomic cattle. He and Sarah recognize that genomics represent big changes for breeders in the past few years. They feel, “Everyone has to use genomics a bit, if they want to make their herd progress faster. Some people don’t trust or believe in genomics, but if we make a smart choice in our cross, it does improve the genetics and the breed.” Sarah notes. “When we choose a sire, we make sure he is a good type bull, low SC and good in health and fertility. We are currently using some genomic sires like Anton, Distinction, Eloquent, Flame, Bookkeeper, Gold Chip, Mccord… We also use Fever, Aftershock and we still use Goldwyn.”
Working to Build the Future of Jeanlu
There are successes both past, present and future for this dairy breeding family. “Probably the best heifer that we bred is Jeanlu Stardust Fidele who was Junior Champion in 1998 at both World Dairy Expo and the Royal Winter Fair. She was owned by Comestar Holsteins.” The current scene is looking good too. “We are flushing Ransom-Rail Explode Pati VG86 2 yrs from the Welcome Goldwyn Penya family. We are excited for MS Brasilia Bryce (Gerard) who has calved and looks amazing! Her Supersire daughter is the highest GLPI heifer at Jeanlu. She is at 3342 GLPI and 3491 DGV. We also have a Bookem from Scientific Deluxe Rae EX and a Goldwyn from Windy-Knoll-View Prairie EX-92. They are both due this fall. We also have 4 daughters of Adeen: a Goldwyn VG-86, Alexander VG and a Jeeves GP83 2 yrs. The fourth will be sold this summer.
Hot Summer Sellers
The Poulin family welcomes the hot days of summer, especially if it involves heated interest in their cattle that are being offered for sale. Referring to what she considers their best of four Adeen daughters, Sarah says, “We are selling BVK Casino Adrian VG87 2 yrs! She is a fantastic Jr 2 with an awesome udder. She is a powerful young cow with a great future! She is probably the first Casino in milk.” Casino is the full brother of Gold Chip so this is an incredible cross with Goldwyn, Adeen and Barbie in the same pedigree. She goes further.” We are also proud to offer in the International Intrigue Sale the highest Mogul Daughter of Speek-NJ Observ Fandango. This heifer is 3284 gLPI, 3429 DGV and 2397 gTPI. Fandango has 8 generations Excellent dams!” In August they will be selling a calf in the Heatwave Summer Sale. “We are selling an awesome calf by Numero Uno from Farnear Brocades Bea (Observer). Jeanlu Uno Beauty is 3086 gLPI, 3123 DGVand 2395 gTPI.” For both Simon and Brian Craswell Beauty has it all. “She is the complete package: Numero Uno x Observer x Goldwyn x Barbie.” It is clear that Poulin can be passionate about both the buying and the selling of great dairy cows!
Jeanlu is Ready to Learn from the Best!
The Poulin family have been inspired by great Holstein breeders like Brian Craswell and Jeff Butler for their “exceptional sales.” They also praise Simon’s close personal friend, Marc Comtois. Sarah says, “For Simon, Marc is one of the best breeders in the world. He is an awesome guy, always positive and enthusiastic to develop the Holstein breed. He keeps investing in great cows and selling some good ones too. He made the Comestar prefix well-known worldwide and we would like to do the same with the Jeanlu prefix!”
Jeanlu Invites You to See Their Best
No doubt by now you would like to get an eyeful of the Jeanlu herd. You may have seen their magazine ads in Cowsmopolitan, Holstein Journal and the Revue Holstein Quebec. Sarah gives other sources. “We have a website that we keep updated and you can find our website on the Holstein World and Cowsmopolitan websites. “We also have a Facebook page. We think it’s the best advertising we can do for free!” On the “reality” side of promoting the herd, Simon feels his biggest accomplishment was buying a second farm and land close to the main barn two years ago. “We renovated the whole barn to make it look like a show barn. This is where we put the show cows and heifers and the high genomic heifers. It’s a sweet barn where cattle are comfortable and happy!” During the 2012 Holstein Quebec convention Jeanlu presented a Tag Sale there. In residence now is Jacobs Baxter Brune VG89. She was 5th Jr two year old at World Dairy Expo in 2011 and was nominated All-American, All-Canadian and All-Quebec that year. “She is fresh now as a 4yr old and looks fantastic!”
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Jeanlu Holsteins enjoy the challenge of running a successful dairy enterprise. One of the keys to their success is that they don’t measure it in prizes won or animal indexes alone but in the connections they make with people. They take care of their cows. They especially take care of their family, friends and fellow breeders. That’s the way Ferme J.P. Poulin & Fils takes care of business. Merci Beaucoup!